Have we divorced worship from service?
I’m afraid we’ve almost divorced worship from loving our neighbor as our self.
The first and most important commandment is “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength.” And we go, Oh, stop right there. That’s worship. Yeah, but keep reading. Jesus isn’t finished yet. And the second most important commandment is this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” And I think I read somewhere that we should weep with those who weep. But I think most of the Christian church is focused on rejoicing with those who rejoice.
It’s hard work. It can be depressing if your focus is constantly on the pain and the suffering and the sin and the poor and the homeless and the marginalized, the racism that goes down in this world and even in the churches.
I’m not a macabre person. But the bottom line is that worship of God cannot be disconnected with loving your neighbor as yourself. Yet for the last eight or ten years, when Christians are talking about worship, we’re really talking about the songs. That’s so one-dimensional.
Worship really is lifestyle, and it includes suffering alongside of my neighbor. Worship includes not just bringing my offering to the temple, but for the one who has two coats, to give one to him who has none. And I think that there is a divorce among many Christians when it comes to loving their neighbor, particularly their poor or their marginalized or their not-so-groovy-never-drive-a-Lexus neighbor. That kind of attitude.
These folks think they’re worshiping God? Because they’re singing “the top ten” worship hits on Sunday morning? Excuse me. I’m hearing the prophet Amos hollering in my head.
- Glenn Kaiser, Singin’ the Blues (Interview with ChristianityToday.com, June 13, 2005)